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Bucket-List Races for Wine Lovers

Bucket-List Races for Wine Lovers

Wherever you stand in your running journey, here’s an exciting reason to lace up: Wine-themed races around the world that integrate miles of breathtaking vineyards with boozy offerings both on and off course. Whether you’ve flirted with the idea of running a marathon or are just starting to work up to your treadmill 5K, we have the details on the best, bucket-list-worthy races around the world for wine lovers.

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At first, wine and running may seem like an unlikely pair but members of both communities are deeply passionate about their interests. Blending the two makes for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that feature outlandish costumes, picturesque sceneries and, best of all, wine.

What Is a Wine-Lovers Race?

Running communities around the world gather for races of all sorts. A wine-lovers race is exactlty as it sounds. It combines a run of a specific distance (from a novice 5K to a 26.2-mile marathon) with vino in some form. These races travel through scenic wine routes and sometimes offer the opportunity to enjoy the region’s food and wine along the way.

The word “race” can make these events sound like a competition. Although for some it may be about topping personal records and taking home a trophy, wine-lovers races often encourage a convivial spirit that isn’t to be taken so seriously. In other words, anyone who is having a good time wins. From esteemed regions like Napa and Bordeaux to a food- and wine-fueled day at Disney, consider one of these bucket list-worthy races for your next boozy adventure.

The Best Races for Wine-Lovers

Photography by Leila Kwok

When: May 24th-26th, 2024

Where: British Columbia, Canada

Okanagan Valley’s sunny slopes provide the perfect terrain for a hilly, scenic run. Situated at the southernmost tip of British Columbia, Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country is home to some of Canada’s most esteemed producers and a lively community of wine lovers.

The Half Corked Marathon is one of the region’s signature events. The journey begins the night before with an al fresco dinner. Participants then wake up ready to run the roughly 12-mile course, cheered on by the several wineries that offer tastings. The race lasts three and a half hours, with plenty of time sip and “hydrate.”

Live entertainment, food trucks and more wine are offered at the finish line party for runners and spectators to enjoy. Tickets for the race are sold out, but there are still seats available for the Primavera Dinner.

Run Sip Napa to Sonoma
Image Courtesy of Run Sip Napa to Sonoma

When: July 20th-21st, 2024

Where: Northern California

This half marathon is considered to be one of the most scenic races of its kind in the U.S. As its name suggests, participants run 13.1 miles from Napa to Sonoma, weaving through the iconic farmlands and rolling vineyards of Northern California’s wine country.

The course cuts through the Carneros wine appellation, passing by the ranches and farms that keep the region’s agricultural production alive. Spot vistas of the Napa-Sonoma Wildlife preserve, Mt. Tamalpais in Marin and the farms’ many animals—from cows and pigs to llamas and donkeys.

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If 13.1 miles sounds too lengthy, the Rosé 5K in Sonoma offers a shorter option with rosé tasting stations integrated into the course. For the ambitious runner, “the pairing” experience allows you to sign up for both.

Regardless of the routes participants choose, all are invited to celebrate with a commemorative wine glass and unlimited tastings at the post-race festival.

Wine Glass Race Series
Image Courtesy of Wine Glass Race Series

When: October 6th, 2024

Where: Upstate New York

An entire weekend of taking in the cool-climate wines and unbeatable fall foliage of Upstate New York? Yes, please.

The Wine Glass Race Series is composed of four different road races that take runners through the small towns of the Finger Lakes region, starting in Corning, New York. It includes the Guthrie Wineglass Marathon, a favorite for aspiring Boston qualifiers for its fast and flat road and the Storflex 5K, a family-friendly course for all levels. For the ambitious runner looking to lace up twice in one weekend, the series includes a Pinot Half Marathon and Riesling Marathon Challenge, both inspired by the region’s top wines.

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Run them all or spectate on the sidelines; the Wine Glass Weekend is filled with events and activities that everyone can enjoy such as an annual pasta dinner, special guest speakers and the region’s historic districts, local breweries and museums.

Disney Wine and Dine
Image Courtesy of RunDisney

When: October 31st-November 3rd, 2024

Where: Orlando, Florida

It’s tempting to drink around the world at Epcot, but what about running throug the Magic Kingdom with your favorite Disney characters and curated treats along the way?

Disney’s annual Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend offers food-centric experiences for all athletic levels, each interspersed with wacky, delicious snacks that highlight the creations of Disney’s top chefs. This year’s events include a 5K run through Muppet madness, a princess-themed 10K, a 13.1-mile course inspired by Chef Remy and Linguini from the film Ratatouille and a two-course challenge for extra-hungry competitors.

Whether or not you plan to join Mickey Mouse at the starting line, the weekend is capped off with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which offers an international selection of wine, beer and cuisine.

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MARATHON DU MEDOC 2022. Edition 36. Pauillac (33), le samedi 10 septembre 2022.
Image Courtesy of Marathon du Medoc

When: September 7th, 2024

Where: Bordeaux, France

Recognized as the longest, booziest race in the world, it’s hard to measure up to the grandeur of Marathon du Medoc—often referred to simply as “Medoc.”

Created in 1984, this French marathon is a must for the adventurous runner. Every September, participants gather in outlandish costumes and encounter the breathtaking views of one of France’s most esteemed wine regions as they wind through 59 of Bordeaux’s vineyards. 

But what makes Medoc a bucket-list-race is its on-course offerings. While keeping pace, participants enjoy 23 wine tastings; 21 gourmet food stands that offer oysters, ice cream and steak, among other delectables and energizing musical performances. With so much more than running, the 26.2-mile Medoc feels longer than any other marathon—but who would want a rendezvous like this to end?

Luckily, it doesn’t have to. An evening ball open to all takes place after the race, complete with fireworks, music and food. The race is capped at 8,500 participants to maintain the convivial spirit for which Medoc is known and loved, so expect it to sell out quickly. Registration for this year’s race is open with more information provided on Medoc’s official website.

Bacchus Wine Half Marathon & 10K
Image Courtesy of Bacchus Wine

When: September 8th, 2024

Where: Dorking, England

Between its rainy climate, love for tea and reverence for The Beatles, England may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of quality wine. But the country is a new force in the vinicultural world—and a great place to run.

The Bacchus Wine Half Marathon & 10K race takes place on the chalky soils of England’s largest vineyard. The course takes you through Denbies Wine Estate and the countryside of Surrey County, with views overlooking the Mole Valley, Ranmore Common and the North Downs. For novice runners, there is also a short fun run that packs in all the scenery in under two miles.

The race’s namesake, Bacchus, is the Greek god of wine and fitting reference for the race’s boozy offerings. Five wine stations are positioned along the loop, each with a different selection to showcase Denbies’ award-winning English wines. There’s food at each stop, from savory bites to sweet desserts. Musical entertainment provides an extra boost to runners.

Like Medoc, participants are encouraged to dress up in funky costumes and stay for a post-race celebration that features more spirits and a traditional UK hog roast.

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